Knowledge Workers

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TERM PAPER
OBHR-633 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
KNOWLEDGE WORKER – “THE EPITOME OF SUCCESS”
DIVYA MISHRA
PURDUE UNIVERSITY CALUMET, HAMMOND, INDIANA

Abstract
James Madison said that “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives”. Knowledge is power according to Sir Francis Bacon. It is the most important resource for the organizations to grow. The knowledge resides in the heads of knowledge workers. Knowledgeable workers are the most precious resource organizations possess. They are different from task workers and low skilled workers. Knowledge workers are selected, recruited and trained in a special manner than the non-knowledge workers. Improving the productivity of knowledge workers and retaining them is a challenge for organizations today. The research paper focuses on all the mentioned aspects of knowledge workers. The paper is written with the help of available literature on knowledge workers (from year 1994 – 2010), newspaper articles, and web articles, my opinion and experience. Introduction

Peter Drucker was the first to coin the term, Knowledge Worker in his book “Landmarks of Tomorrow” in 1959. According to Drucker, “knowledge workers are the people who work differently from the people of industrial and agricultural age and use their head more than the muscle”. Knowledge workers are the people who are employed for their knowledge rather than their ability to perform manual labor. They perform best when empowered to perform with the highest potential and deepest skills. They are an asset rather than a cost for an organization and a nation. Knowledge is very valuable for organizational performance and by implementing human resource strategy to develop and create the knowledge, knowledge worker and retain them; a firm can understand how to create, develop, transfer knowledge and use it effectively to develop a competitive advantage. Before jumping on the primary topic of this paper, several key definitions should be discussed to provide an appropriate foundation for the paper. The paper is divided into three sections. The first section defines the key elements – knowledge, knowledge management and knowledge workers. This section explains the value of knowledge for the growth and development of firms, knowledge management and its importance to disseminate knowledge. The paper defines knowledge workers, their characteristics and the difference between them and non-knowledge workers. The second section of the paper explains how the various aspects of human resource management – selection, recruitment, and training and performance assessment of knowledge workers are different from non-knowledge workers. The last section provides a summary of the paper and brings into light the implications of future research. Knowledge

Knowledge is defined as the understanding, awareness, or familiarity acquired through study, investigation, observation or experience over the course of time. It is an individual’s interpretation of information and facts based on personal experience, skills and competencies. It is characterized by information, capacity and aptitude. From the perspective of an organization, it is the amount of information about a customer, product, market, success, failure and processes. It is the amount of information required to function, progress and be accessible within an organization. Knowledge is the pillar on which the whole organization stands. It is a crucial factor affecting an organization’s ability to remain competitive and progressive in the global market. Today organizations consider knowledge as a precious resource and continually develop mechanisms to enhance it. Thus knowledge is definitely a driving force for the growth of business activities and the growth of nation as well. It is the basic factor required to be in competition and survive in the global market. Knowledge as an intangible asset...
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